Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Screenshot Shortcut for Nexus 7

This may be obvious to some but if you would like to take a photo of the current screen on your Nexus 7, press the power button and the down volume button at the same time. When you press and hold the resulting screenshot, it will give you options to share this screenshot via email / social media etc.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

7 Ways to Speak to Your Nexus 7

One of my favourite features of the Nexus 7 has to be the Google Now feature which makes the Nexus do many things at the command of your voice. I've listed a few ways you can integrate Google Now into your daily life.

1. Set my Alarm - To set your alarm, open up Google Now and press the microphone then say "set alarm for 8:30". The Nexus will then set the alarm for you.

2. Navigate to a Destination - When Google Now is told to "Navigate to Oxford University", Google Navigation will start up and start giving you directions how to get to Oxford University.

3. Play a Song - Google can also be told to "Listen to Pachobel's Canon" which will activate a search on Youtube for "Pachobel's Canon". That's pretty cool...

4. Leave Note to Self - You can also leave a note for yourself with the instruction "Note to Self" "Do not take West Ring Road" and Google will create a note on your screen for your reference later.

5. Send Text/Email - This is a little more tricky because Google can sometimes find it hard to understand names but you can actually tell Google to "Send text/sms/email to Ben" and it will look for Ben in your contacts list. Then it will wait for you to tell it what to say to Ben via email/text.

6. Go to a Website - You might wonder why someone would want to speak to Google to go to a website but for example, there are websites which tell you where the closest speed cameras are to your current location. In that situation, you may be in the car and you may tell Google to "Go to PerthSC.com" so that you can quickly glance at the screen to see where the speed cameras are... which you wouldn't do because it is illegal to operate a phone whilst driving!

7. And finally.. Search for Anything with your Voice 
Here's an extract from Google's own helpful hints and tips for searching stuff using voice commands.

What you wantWhat to type or sayExamples
Sports information[team’s name]San Francisco Giants
PicturesPictures of [topic]
images of [topic]
Pictures of San Francisco
Images of cats
Convert measurements[original measurement] in [new measurement]30 degrees Celsius in Fahrenheit
Movie showtimesMovie
Movie [location]
[movie name]
Movie Chicago
The Horse’s Mouth
Word definitionDefine [word]Define campanile
Weather forecastWeather
Weather [location]
Weather Detroit
Identify an area codeArea code [###]Area code 215
Identify zip codeZip code [#####]Zip code 46202
Time [location]
Time in London
Flight information[Airline] [flight number]American airlines flight 390
TranslationTranslate to [language] [phrase]Translate to Spanish, Where is the Palace Hotel?’
Calculator[A math phrase]75 divided by 6
Food[Type of food]
[Type of food] in [location]
Mexican food
Mexican food in Urbana, Illinois

Why Google Now is not Responding When I say Google

I was very excited with the Google Now features that the Nexus 7 allows. However, I found that my Nexus 7 would not respond to me when I say "Google" like it is supposed to. I ignored this problem but today, I decided I had to find out how this can be fixed and this is what I found. 

Apparently, the ability to trigger a search or action by saying "Google" is called hotword detection. To turn it off or on, start from the Google Now screen and touch Menu > Settings > Voice > Hotword detection.

EDIT: Actually, hotword detection was already on for my device. The problem was that when you set your English language to any other than US English (Australian English or UK English), Google won't recognise the "Google" command! Of course, because it is an American but who knew that would be a problem!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Which Nexus7 Case?

Carrying around such a nice little tablet leads to the next issue of finding a suitable case for the Nexus7. Recently, there was a youtube post which showed why you should not get the official Nexus7 case.


The suggested alternative of a "leather" case from ebay is $10 compared to the official case sold at JB Hifi for $25 in strange colours. The problem with the ebay case is that the form factor of the Nexus 7 seems to be lost because the case makes it quite bulky in the end.

There is another case which seems to keep the size down which is currently selling for $US13.99 + shipping as shown below. Oh yeah, its very important that you get a case which has the SMART CASE function which can turn on / unlock your Nexus 7 when you open the case.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Launch Apps / Tasks using NFC

The Nexus 7 has a NFC reader which is the newest feature for smartphones and tablets. This enables two devices to communicate with each other and transfer files/contact details/apps etc just by touching each other. There is also another way you can use NFC which will change the way you look at an old smartcard.

There is a program called NFC task launcher which allows you to activate applications or tasks on your Nexus 7 just by touching a certain card or other NFC device. Try it out free from the link to Google Play Store https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.jwsoft.nfcactionlauncher&hl=en

EDIT: Turns out that you can't use an old smart card to launch tasks etc. You need to buy NFC tags.

Does the Nexus 7 support HDMI? Keyboard? Mouse? Thumb drive?

I've been reading up on the Nexus 7 and the possibilities it beholds and apparently it used to be able to allow a person to connect the tablet to a TV via a HDMI cable and a mini-USB to HDMI converter cable! This functionality is no longer available but there seems to be some questions about whether this can be overcome with the right software. Anyone able to shed more light on this?

Also for those with a Nokia N8 before, you will remember that it had the ability not just to output to a TV screen but also connect a thumb drive to provide USB on the go. This is also not possible with the Nexus 7.

However, there is one thing that they reckon works which I haven't tried yet. Apparently you CAN connect a mouse or keyboard to the Nexus 7 via a mini-USB to USB converter and a USB keyboard/mouse. Have fun exploring the possibilities and report back what you can do with that little USB port of mine.

How Do You Get $25 Google Play?

One question I was wondering when I bought the Nexus was how do I know whether I am going to get the $25 credit from Google Play? This credit is supposed to come with the Nexus7 along with the free movie Transformers.

Do not log in using a friend's gmail account when you first turn on your Nexus7 unless you want to give them your $25 credit

When you turn on your Nexus7 and you log into your Gmail account, you will receive an email from Google welcoming you to the Nexus 7. There will also be another email sent to the same address with the following welcome message.

Nexus7 First Impressions

When I was first shown the box for the nexus tablet, I could see that ASUS was not trying to compete with Apple on packaging. I almost didn't want to buy the tablet any more! Anyway, the Nexus7 is one amazing piece of hardware! You can find specs elsewhere but here's what it feels like. The device is incredibly light and whilst it is small, it means that it is very portable.

The rubber backing on the Nexus 7 makes it much more pleasant to hold and probably halves the chance of the device sliding off an uneven surface like an ipad. By the way, how many people do you know of with a cracked ipad screen?

Once you start the Nexus 7, the screen looks very familiar to anyone with an Android phone. Actually, it looks like one big phone. There are various gestures you can use, such as the swipe up from the bottom of the screen which takes you straight to Google Now, something in itself worth posting about another time.

The device looks very refined and whilst it may seem restrictive that you need WIFI to connect to the internet, it works well with a phone that has the ability to share the internet, which most phones can do nowadays. Since you are unlikely to ever be without your phone, then connectivity is not so much of a problem.

So what did you think of the Nexus when you got it? leave a comment, even if anonymously.

The Cheapest Nexus7 in Australia?

OK I am not sure whether there will be much interest in this blog but if you have a Nexus 7, please support this by commenting, suggesting topics etc and we will try build a tips and tricks blog for the Nexus 7 tablet.

I just got my Nexus 7 last Thursday from Officeworks in Perth and they were happy to price match with TopBuy.com.au. I was happy if they price matched the price + delivery but they didn't mind price matching the $289.95 price without delivery. Officeworks policy is that they beat the price by 5% so the Nexus7 came down to $275.45. Did anyone get a better price than that? I had $100 gift card which I managed to get at 5% off Coles cards (which works with Officeworks) but if I had sufficient gift card credit, it could have been only $261.68 but I was happy getting it down to $270.50!

Anyway I've started playing with the Nexus 7 and it is just awesome! There is so much you can do with this and I was amazed to notice that it fits in an inner pocket of a suit. The size may look small at first but people looking to use, rather than amuse, would find that this tablet is just the right size. More later as I explore the tips and tricks for this device.

But the first tip should be about buying this tablet in Australia. Officeworks will beat any price by 5% more if you can show them a competitor's price. Stock is extremely low but some people have said that Dick Smith is expecting a large order in soon. Leave a comment if you know more..